Rebecca Welch became the first female referee to take charge of the men’s FA Cup third round on Saturday when she took charge of Plymouth’s 1-0 win over Birmingham.
The League One club knocked out the league team thanks to overtime winner of substitute Ryan Law. Lee Bowyer’s team finished the game with 10 men after George Friend was sent off for taking two yellow cards in the second half.
Welch is no stranger to making history as she last year became the first female referee to be nominated for an English Football League game earlier this year.
The 38-year-old has refereed men’s National League matches and elite women’s matches, including the 2017 FA Cup final.
In April, she took charge of Harrogate’s 2-0 defeat of Sky Bet League Two at home to Port Vale and in the summer was named to the EFL national group list for men’s professional game.
Welch became a qualified referee in 2010 and continued her daily work as an administrator in the NHS until two years ago.
The officer, who hails from Tyne and Wear, also oversaw matches of the Women’s Super League and Women’s Community Shield 2020.
In December 2020, she was added to UEFA’s elite women’s roster, joining other female football officials to referee international matches, including France’s Stephanie Frappart.
Amy Fearn was the first woman to referee a match on the FA Cup main draw when she supervised Dover beating Corby in the first round in 2013.